The Zurich Node of the Planetary Collegium. Institute of Cultural Studies, University of Applied Arts, Zurich, Switzerland.

Brandon Ballangée

About the Research Trans-disciplinary art/ biology practices that effectively increase public understanding of environmental phenomenon: The aims of his research are to develop temporary laboratory and field-based research investigations, generating scientific data on ratios of anuran (frogs and toads) amphibian deformities and their potential etiologies in two continents through collaboration with public and other participating biologists. The study will allow him to further explore his trans-disciplinary practice, which expands notions of artistic investigation with direct participation within the realm of science made available to the public as a strategy towards increasing awareness of environmental issues and promoting social change. Specific questions to be addressed: How can certain Trans-disciplinary art/ biology practices effectively increase public understanding of environmental phenomenon? Are amphibian deformations symptomatic of overall wetland ecosystem decline? What are the proximate causes for anuran limb deformities at select localities? What role can the public play in contributing new and important knowledge to the field of primary research biology and how can the results be disseminated? By engaging the public through “citizen science” workshops, field-trips, and other activities how does this practice become a form of social/environmental activism? About the Researcher Artist and biologist, Brandon Ballengée creates trans-disciplinary artworks inspired from his ecological field and laboratory research. Since 1996, a central investigation focus has been the occurrence of developmental deformities and population declines among amphibians. In 2001, he was nominated for membership into Sigma XI, the Scientific Research Society. In 2009, Ballengée and SK Sessions published “Explanation for Missing Limbs in Deformed Amphibians” in the Journal of Experimental Zoology and received international media attention from the BBC and others. This scientific study was the inspiration for the book Malamp: The Occurrence of Deformities in Amphibians  (published by Arts Catalyst & Yorkshire Sculpture Park, England) and a solo exhibition at the Royal Institution of Great Brittain (2010, England). Since 2009 he has continued his amphibian research as a visiting scientist at McGill University (Canada). In 2011 he was awarded a conservation leadership fellowship from the National Audubon Society’s TogetherGreen Program. Ballengée’s art is represented by Ronald Feldman Fine Arts (New York, NY) and Nowhere Gallery (Milan) Website